“Civility is simply demonstrating respect for the dignity of our fellow humans—even those humans with whom we have sharp disagreement. Civility is allowing others to speak, and having the humility to admit that we may have something to learn. Civility favors truth over cheap gain, and patience over knee-jerk judgment.” Rabbi Steve Gutow
American Baptist Churches USA believes that civility and respect is inextricably linked to the biblical mandate to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Hence, the lack of civility in our nation today is an ethical issue to which we are calling the attention of ABC leaders. Civility is not simply acquiescing to the values of the dominant culture but creating a space at the table for the respectful exchange of ideas regardless of theological and/or political ideals.
ABCUSA has partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Through their Initiative to Revive Civility, ABCUSA is part of a growing network of community and faith groups who are engaging in advocacy on civility in this uncivil political climate. In collaboration with ABCUSA, NICD staff provide training, workshops and educational materials for ABC pastors, leaders and congregations to facilitate civil discourse conversations and promote civility within their congregations and communities.
- ABC pastors and leaders will be better equipped to be ministers of reconciliation across religious and political divides within their communities.
- ABC leaders will prioritize civility within their sphere of influence and build skills to facilitate civil discourse conversations.
- ABC clergy will have the opportunity to participate simultaneously with other regions and communities across the country in national civility initiatives (i.e. Golden Rule 2020).
Program Activities and Training Modules include:
- Guided one-on-one conversations and small groups to help people build relationships and promote civility across cultural and political lines;
- Workshops to explore the theological and biblical principles of civility;
- Tools to work with local elected officials to encourage civil behavior and issue proclamations to promote civility;
- Engagement in short-term national efforts to engage communities in civil discourse; and
- Text, Talk and Revive Civility – a messaging platform to encourage young people to participate in civility and respect discussions.
How can you get involved?
- Join us in the national civility campaign, Golden Rule 2020, to promote civility during the election season. Worship resources and suggested activities to share with your congregation are available online here.
- Visit www.revivecivility.org to learn more about the Initiative to Revive Civility and get tools to begin promoting civility in your congregation.